The Active Travel Fund is one of several funding streams set up by the government to support its Gear Change strategy.
The funding is available for local authorities to bid for with the intention that the various projects would support and help deliver the cycling and walking strategies described in authorities Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plans (LCWIP). Warrington’s plan was published in December 2019 and includes an aspirational cycling network which is being steadily delivered using government and internal funding sources.
The first round of the Active Travel Fund was issued during the early months of the Covid pandemic and named as the “Emergency Active Travel Fund”. This provided funding to help deliver the first stages of a number of temporary improvements to meet the demand for active travel within Warrington. Schemes that were delivered included:
- Making some footways wider to help with social distancing
- Providing new barriers and signs to create dedicated cycle lanes and help make it safer for cyclists
- Traffic signals have been changed to provide more ‘green time’ for pedestrians and cyclists
- Making changes to the town centre roads to reduce through traffic and make it more friendly for pedestrians and cyclists
- Widening and resurfacing cycle routes into the town centre to create long-lasting and fit-for-purpose cycleways
- More cycle parking has been provided within the town centre
- Well used footpaths and cycle paths have been widened
- Within parks and green spaces, the space around paths has been cleared to ensure there is enough room for people walking or cycling
Active Travel Fund Tranche 2
Later in 2020, the government announced another round of the Active Travel Fund, which allowed local authorities to bid for more money to encourage walking and cycling. The intention was to allow councils to make, where appropriate, the temporary measures set out in Tranche 1 into more permanent changes. These permanent changes would then expand the scope of measures into other areas of the borough.
In November 2020 the government awarded £650,000 to Warrington to deliver three schemes as part of the government's Active Travel Fund.
Scheme 1 - Central 6 Local Access Improvements
Scheme 2 - Lights Segregation Cycle Routes
Initial design and survey work on a segregated route along the A562 identified that the scheme was more complex and expensive than the funding would allow. Therefore three affordable light segregation cycle schemes were installed on Scotland Road, Winwick Road and Midland Way in May 2022. The impact of these schemes on traffic flows and their use by cyclists is being monitored.
Scheme 3 - Town Centre Active Travel
Active Travel Fund 3
Warrington has been successful in obtaining funds from the Active Travel Fund Tranche 3 (ATF3). This would allow the council to develop and build three important active travel transport schemes that would encourage people to walk and cycle more in their local area.
The schemes are:
- Scheme 1: A5061 Liverpool Road cycle scheme – a light segregation cycle scheme to give cyclists more protection from traffic. The design of this scheme is in hand and the scheme will be delivered early in 2023.
- Scheme 2: Bewsey Road/Lovely Lane Cyclops junction improvement
- Scheme 3: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods phase 2 – further support for LTNs in Warrington to improve active travel movements
Throughout the design process we will be working with Active Travel England to ensure that we meet the latest government guidance on cycle design. A key funding requirement is that the schemes must be delivered or substantially progressed by March 2023.
Let us know your views
In line with government guidance we will be carrying out public consultation surveys of the proposed schemes later in the year. The consultation will seek views from local residents as well as from key stakeholder bodies and organisations. We will be using guidance from the government on conducting opinion polls and surveys in order to obtain people’s views. These will help to inform the design of the schemes.